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tv   Inside Story  Al Jazeera  December 31, 2014 9:30am-10:01am EST

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sydney here with a spectacular as usual firework's display. bit smaller, this was new zealand saying hello to 2015. let's hope it is a happy new year for you, wherever you are. ♪ >> when 2014 began oil was still expensive. crimea was still in ukraine. the nato was in afghanistan. and u.s. was not talking with cuba. >> hello, i'm ray
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suarez. the year end is a convention in the news business but it is an useful one. it gives audience and reporters a chance to look at how eventful a year has been before we talk about the new day. 7billion human beings have a remarkable capacity for making news. 2014 was striking. the eyes of the islamic state in the iraq and levant. something close to civil war in ukraine's east. india's narendra modi in nigeria, boko haram moves to attack and pitch battle all as oil plummets in price causing serious headaches. like every year you can look back and say, that was a time
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. >> one of the biggest moments for u.s. foreign policy in 2014, august 7th, president barack obama announcing the u.s.' mission to degrade and destroy the islamic state in iraq and the levant or isil. with the help of international coalition. the strength of the relatively new force took iraq and the region by spruce. iraq's prime minister nouri al-maliki stepped down. syria began to deteriorate into one of the worse civil wars and humanitarian crises on earth. 2014 saw rapid escalation. israel and gaza. and de-escalation.
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the u.s. nato combat mission depends afghanistan. some regions saw both conflict and celebration in 2014. ukraine elected a new president, then russia annexes crimea and russian-backed rebels battle for donetsk. and downing of a passenger yet. the west fights russia's president vladimir putin with words. >> russia's aggressive actions elsewhere in ukraine as well as the spread of violence and extremism in north africa and the middle east affects security to nato's east and south. >> by the end of 2014 russia's currency had plummeted after months of sanctions and dropping oil prices. a stark difference between how
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the year began with the sochi olympics. also in 2014 the world's largest democracy, india, elects a new prime minister. western african countries combat the worst outbreak of ebola in history. scotland's vote for independence from the united kingdom falls short, as did protesters of democratic dreams in hong kong. there were moments of sheer terror in canada, and public outrage against for. and two weeks ago president's barack obama and raul astro turn their backs on 30 years . >> joining us for a look back at the rise of the islamic state.
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the olympics, ukraine's incursion and another israel gaza war and many events that made news around the world. michael kauffman najir hashami, and . michael kauffman, they used to call them sovietologists, and now they're back. it's been an amazing time. >> it's been a profound year for u.s.-russian relations and russia's relations in the west. both russian's behavior and relationship with russia. >> the maid an fighters had barely cooled in 2014. i don't think anybody expected the audacious move into crimea
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that now is part and parcel of russia. >> and russia was unprepared for what it was about to do. it's hard to believe as russia was winding down the social olympics, 30 days after that they had annexed crimea, much faster than the united states could react to it and crimea is likely to be passed down to another generation. it has been added to the russian map, and most people in the west believe 20 to 30 years before that issue is touched again. >> mik ko oyang. people watching what was happening started to grumble that the west had, quote you quote/unquote, should do something. but it was unclear what anybody could do about it. >> people wanted immediate results. they were asking americans to do
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something to change the calculous than anything. and the american response was a much lower burn, to put economic pressure on russia, and it would take time before the political system would realize the affect and start reacting to it. >> is that working? vladimir putin appears to be as popular as ever. >> i don't know if i trust the public opinion numbers. people are afraid of what they think about putin. they can't be happy with the way things are happening in russia. >> michael kauffman, how do you think things are playing? is it working? the approach to russia and ukraine? >> i think right now it has worked towards the i wanted of year and as a consequence of broader
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. the wist got the motivation when a plane was shot down in ukraine by pro-russian separatists. those sanctions did not bite and did not have a punitive affect on russia's economy until later this year. the reason they did, one, russia was already entering a recession in the beginning of the year. prices had been in a downward to trajectory all year long, and it hurt the budget. these made moves independent of us brought the economic crisis upon russia. that and russia's old central bank mismanaged the crisis. it was only at the end of the year that the financial sanctions have compressed the
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situation of russia so much that it evolved into a currency crisis. a currency crisis that they probably would not have had otherwise. >> now this year has marked russia being much more interested in what used to be the near abroad. places like belarus and ukraine, does it mean that it's taken its eye off of what is going on in damascus baghdad, tehran? >> no, actually, one can sort of see a consistency in terms of russia trying to assert itself on the global stage. as we speak right now russia is trying to broker a restart to peace process nor . it's starting the opposition groups and invited the iranians, and it seems like it's trying to up stage the americans and europeans on the question of syria itself.
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russia seems to be following a certain consistent pattern here of trying some people are said recapture the former soviet empire. you can follow that out especially on the question of syria. >> meika, during a time of flagging economic performance, when you can't satisfy the aspirations of your own people. >> i think it's very difficult for him. despite the fact that the united states and other countries continue to deal with russia in a relatively business is usual, i think its hard for other country to trust russia after what they've done in ukraine. they've violated some of the basic principles, violating the sovereign ty of other nation.
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i think it has really alienated them despite their efforts to broker peace in other places. >> when you have nuclear arsenal, a lot of oil and veto on the security council, you still matter by definition. we'll be back back to "inside story." we'll look at the islamic state in iraq and the levant and the new state it's trying to create between iraq and syria as we look at the eventually 2014 around the world. stay with us.
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>> you're watching "inside story" from al jazeera. i'm ray suarez. through 2014 the world watched as the islamic state in iraq and the levant, isil, and it's self-proclaimed caliph brought chaos and destruction to much of western syria and iraq. seizing powerful, sophisticated
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weapons and growing wealth. it would bring american forces back to iraq, and for the moment not in great moments. nadar hashmi, does isil end the year in 2014 much better than when the year ban? >> absolutely. the islamic state, the so-called islamic state controls a territory the size of great britain. they destabilized two countries. they're attracting foreign recruits around the world. in the recent weeks they suffered military defeat, but at the beginning of the year infer had heard, at least in the westers of the islamic state in iraq and the levant. and now everyone is talking about them. now they've been the big victors in advancing their own political program in 2014. >> you're starting to hear now a little critique of their power on the battlefield.
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they just didn't have very good opposition in the beginning. now that they're being fought by more effective forces they may not look as invulnerable they looked earlier on. >> that's true. largely for the reasons you stated there wasn't a serious fighting force to oppose them. but it's important to realize that much of the strength of the islamic state is built upon deep-seeded disgruntled public opinion in the sunni segments of iraq and syria. they feed on that resentment the alienation, the brutality that has come from the existing regimes in damascus, and baghdad. so until that fundamental issue is dealt with in some substantive way in terms of addressing grievances, the islamic state is going to feed upon and draw upon a certain level of support that will keep
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them in power. they're starting to suffer some roll back and defeat on the battlefield, but we're a long way away from them being defeat defeated compress hensively as a political organization and military organization. >> m ieka, is there a sell-by date? it is one thing that you're fairs are being overseen by bashar al-assad or nouri al-maliki, but it's another to put up with daily life imposed by the islamic state which is separate severe and austere. >> absolutely. you see the same kind of growing frustration, the difference between a group that is far away and have ideals that you agree w and then living with them when you need your crash picked up. we saw the same situation with hamas in gaza. they had to take over, they had to moderate somewhat to meet the
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governance obligations of that territory, and you see tremendous dissatisfaction of them as an organization in control. >> praying five times a day may satisfy some personal aspirations but won't make stores open up and have bread when they do. >> that's right. and the dissatisfaction that the sunnies felt under the previous regime, it's not like the day-to-day life is going to get any better under isil. >> michael, the is there a plan yet, a coherent approach of what to do in syria and western iraq? >> no, this is one of the biggest challenges for the united states going in to 2015. ultimately leads us back to russia as well. fundamentally, in order to beat isil, you need engage both key allies of the united states in the middle east and key allies of russia. and the allies of the united
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states do not want to work together to beat isil unless there is also a plan to tackle assad's regime in syria. this is key to understand. it's hard to beat isil without turkey, saudi arabia, jordan and other gulf states. on the other hand it's almost impossible to beat them without the help of iran, hezbollah fighters and syria's government fighting them as well. naturally russia is the gateway to that second alliance, and we're finding ourselves in a very fascinating place. essentially we have some interests in common with russia, iran and syria defeating isil. >> although we don't want to admit it. >> we don't want to admit it but we're fighting on the same side. as you saw in the fall an argument that along had been brewing in policy circles here one of the things that led to chuck hagel's resignation is how long can the u.s. continue this military campaign against isil
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with a set of allies that not only disagree with each other but are forced to fight on the same side as their enemies. you saw with the turks being reluctant, they don't want to work with us unless we have a plan to beat a plan assad in syria, and we don't. >> that had to be the most striking moments in the last couple of months, where turkey seemed to be vacillating about who they were fighting in the area, and who's side they were on, and how much skin they were willing to put in this game. >> right, turkey, you know, came under a lot of criticism for standing on the sidelines when kobane was almost overrun by isis. turkey was pursuing a set of policies that were, you know, in its own national interests, and not that different from the stated policies that the united states has arrest particular articulated in dawn of the syrian conflict.
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turkey wanted to deal with root causes not just simply symptoms of the crisis in syria. their argument, in my view is very compelling, that is we have to go back to how this conflict started. it's funneled fundamentally a by-product of the assad regime and unless we're willing to deal with the question of the future of syria, the assad regime itself, it did not want to invest any military muscle in trying to defeat isis in kobane. turkey had its own kurdish problem, that's part of turkey's calculation as well. i think the big point here is that all roads, i think, lead to damascus in terms of dealing with the isis crisis. isis is a fundamentally a by-product of the syrian war. it's a by-product of failed
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series of obama policies , but sitting on the sidelines open hoing that syria could be contained within its borders was a huge risk calculation. we can see that right now. and now the united states, after committing itself from pulling out from the middle east withdrawing troops, removing its footprint is now in many ways back at the beginning. we're reengaging, to reengage with the middle east militarily. i think the rise of isis, in my view, at the end of 2014 really highlights the catastrophic failure of obama's foreign policy specifically with respect to the crisis in serie-a. >> when we return, more world trouble spots. massacre and kidnappings plagued mexico, pakistan, nigerian and raul castro and barack obama set a new course for u.s.-cuban relations. stay with us.
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